The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is currently worth more right n... The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is currently worth more right now than its original MSRP (Hyundai).
Some drivers who purchased cars last year are finding a sweet surprise when they look up their car's value: The vehicle is worth more now than it was a year ago.

There are fewer used cars on the market, forcing up prices. It's a delayed effect of the auto meltdown, which severely curtailed leasing in 2008. That means fewer cars are coming off lease and heading into the used car market.

Rising gas prices and the earthquake in Japan, which shuttered automotive production for weeks, are also playing a role. Dealers worried that about possible shortages from the Japanese automakers are stocking up on used fuel-efficient cars so they have something to sell later this summer.

The most startling effect is on the fuel-efficient Toyota Prius, which is worth $2,555 more today than it was when it was new a year ago, according to Kelley Blue Book, which tracks used car resale values.

Used Car Shopping? Check Out Millions of Listings at AOL Autos!

The Hyundai Sonata is worth $855 more than sticker price, KBB says. The Kia Soul is worth $60 more now, the company says.

The National Automobile Dealers Association also tracks the data, and says other cars worth more now include the Volkswagen Jetta, which is now worth $747 more, the Nissan Cube, which is worth $842 more, and the Hyundai Tucson, which is valued at $635 more. The Honda Fit is worth $1,070 more, says NADA, than it was brand new last year.

Prices of used cars are supposed to go down every year. Unless it is a collector car, the older a car gets, the more its value depreciates. Some dealers say the NADA used-car valuation guide is slightly overpriced, but the numbers show a clear pattern of increasing prices.

American-made cars used to depreciate more quickly than many foreign brands for a variety of reasons – quality concerns, styling, and reputation, to name a few. A big factor was also Detroit's excessive use of fleet sales to rental firms, which the automakers used to prop up overall sales figures. Rental fleets would use the cars for a while, from several months to a year, and then re-sell the cars at auction. The oversupply of rental cars helped keep used car prices lower.

The same held true for leased vehicles as well: When drivers return a lease car back to the dealer, it either goes onto the used car lot or to an auction house where it is resold.

The combined effect automakers cutting back on fleet sales and the massive reduction in leasing in 2008 is cutting into used car supplies at auction.

Manheim, an auto auction company, says used car prices are at an all-time high. The company is auctioning off fewer cars, but prices have soared.

That's particularly true for fuel-efficient cars, which are seeing higher sales due to high gas prices. Manheim says prices on all compact and midsized cars are up 60.

But higher used-car prices may not last forever, says Alex Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. Gas prices should start coming down mid summer, "and when they do, values for many of these fuel-efficient models are expected to drop," he says.

Bottom line:

If you are in the market for a used car, tread carefully, because prices could crash later this year. But if you have a fuel thrifty hatchback such as a Honda Fit or Toyota Prius, and are in the market for an SUV, now is the right time to make that deal.


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  • 300 Comments
      Leo
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is more B.S. in this article than fact!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Leo
        or is there? dun dun dun
      Great One
      • 3 Years Ago
      funny how my 3 comments all went poof after 10 min.
      n738
      • 3 Years Ago
      The last line is a joke : " But if you have a fuel thrifty hatchback such as a Honda Fit or Toyota Prius, and are in the market for an SUV, now is the right time to make that deal." We all know gas prices will soar again, so why trade for an SUV gas guzzler. Is this writer paid by the big oil companies?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Up to my 20th car, GM's, Lincolon, Dodge, ok I'm getting old and like to try new cars after a few years. But either used or leased new I never had a lemon and loved them all, now have a Dodge CHARGER SRT-8 and loving the hell out of it, would never stray away from The Great AMERICIAN AUTOMOBILE!!!
        tomozzy123
        • 3 Years Ago
        Love that new Charger
          harleydavid105
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tomozzy123
          I don't have the $ either. I'll be happy on my Harley, though.
          harleydavid105
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tomozzy123
          I'd love a Hemi Challenger.
          tomozzy123
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tomozzy123
          The Challenger is my favorite of the muscle cars. I just don't have $43,000 for a Hemi-Challenger. If I did, it would be on my list.
          tomozzy123
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tomozzy123
          Stick with the Harley for now. I pray that things improve for you. I know what it's like to be broke or out of work.
          harleydavid105
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tomozzy123
          Thanks, tom. I appreciate your concern.
        • 3 Years Ago
        international cars are better
          tomozzy123
          • 3 Years Ago
          Isn't International owned by a French conglomerate now? We've sold off our agriculture equipment manufacturers to foreign interests.
          harleydavid105
          • 3 Years Ago
          What is an international car. I thought International made trucks and farm equipment.
      Rick
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2011 Honda 2 dr coupe v-6.......loaded. Great Gas Mileage...nice ride and....and I can park!!! IT!!!!!! Not like the Mom SUV's!! Hahahahahahahahahahahhahaahh
      bartandyc
      • 3 Years Ago
      someone is into the sauce too heavy, none of those cars or any others are worth even 20% less than asking price , most car buyers are idiots how hard did you have to work for the dollars to pay for the car ? how hard did the dealer & sales person ? did they bust their ass ???
      bartandyc
      • 3 Years Ago
      poor union bashers , ! good luck when your wages go to nothing when the tax base is so low that you get taxed 2- 3 times what you are now , when you have to pay your own way for the day care you get free now, the low cost schooling for your children will disappear as the property taxes decrease , prevailing wages will lessen , then the wealthy will completey own ( as slave workers) the entire world !
      rane1313
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bought a 2011 Dale. what a great car she/he is
      Brenda Fay
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I am supposed to believe this hyundi is more valuable than my used SLK 350 Roadster, you gotta be kidding. No I won't sucker for that one.
      jackndyan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drove a rental Sonata for a week last month, put 400 miles on it and it was a fantastic car. Much improved over the older ones, had solid power, brakes, good hvac system, and comfortable, satellite radio, etc. So I have some experience with the 2011 Sonata.
        harleydavid105
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jackndyan
        Try driving a new GM or Ford. You'll be pleasantly surprised and when you buy one you'll be supporting America.
      • 3 Years Ago
      i dont buy it, if that is d case, why not buy a new car instead, who will buy a use when he can buy a new one with less $$$$$$
      • 3 Years Ago
      You all are funny as hell. LMAO
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